Hong Kong’s Wealthy Aren’t Giving Up on the City Just Yet By Bloomberg


© Reuters. Hong Kong’s Wealthy Aren’t Giving Up on the City Just Yet

(Bloomberg) — Is Hong Kong’s run as one of the world’s most important financial hubs coming to an end?

It’s an understandable question after one of the city’s most turbulent stretches since pro-democracy demonstrations erupted in June. The past few days have brought a drumbeat of bad news, raising concerns about the independence of Hong Kong’s judiciary, the future of its trading relationship with the U.S. and the prospect of more violence between police and protesters.

Yet interviews this week with investors, lawyers, bankers, diplomats and businesspeople suggest things will have to get significantly worse before Hong Kong’s moneyed classes give up on a city that has defied doubters time and again.

Optimists say that Hong Kong still offers a unique, if diminished, gateway between China and the rest of the world, and that both sides have too much riding on the city to stand by and watch it crumble.

That sanguine outlook may ultimately prove wrong, of course, and there are plenty of pessimists. But for all the talk of contingency plans and capital outflows, signs of a mass exodus have so far failed to materialize. Here’s what people have been saying about Hong Kong’s future:

Richard Harris, founder of Port Shelter Investment Management, who has been in the city for 50 years

There’s been no change to the taxation regime and there’s likely to be almost no change to corporate law. Those are the sort of things that impact businesses. I think in terms of Hong Kong’s economic framework, it’s still extremely good for doing business, and I can’t see how that would be changed by whatever’s happened.

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, speaking at Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum in Beijing

I hope that the issue will be settled by negotiation that maintains the principles by which decolonization was carried out some period ago. I believe that this is possible, and it should be likely.

Bill Winters, CEO and executive director at Standard Chartered (LON:) Plc

Not much money has actually moved. We’ve seen clients open accounts in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan, in that order, but while the accounts were set up, not a lot of money has actually moved. We’re not seeing a crescendo.

The biggest impact of the Hong Kong protests by us has been on our staff. It’s been hard for them to get to work and there’s elements of stress with conflicts at home between people who disagree. We’ve been in Hong Kong 162 years, we’ve been through SARS, the financial crisis, and our business will keep going.

Ronnie Chan, Hong Kong-based chairman of Hang Lung Properties

I don’t think Hong Kong itself can resolve the situation. Every problem eventually will pass, and the same thing with Hong Kong, it’s just a matter of what form and shape it will be. Hong Kong will recover, how much can we recover is the question.

Fraser Howie, author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise”

No one thinks China is about to collapse so there is a need still for a gateway and only Hong Kong offers that. Free flow of money, capital and people is all still possible in Hong Kong, and there still is a strong commercial law framework.

Hong Kong will be a thorn in Beijing’s side. How that escalation comes I am still unsure but there is no chance of going back. The Hong Kong bubble has popped and will not be re-engineered.

Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at Axitrader Ltd.

After the constant weekend carnage in the streets, financial market concerns must play second fiddle to employer safety and welfare, so I can only assume relocation discussions are happening. When you think about it these days, most non-customer facing jobs are pretty much location-agnostic, so there is little holding back foreign businesses from possibly relocating a bulk of their staff.

Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Group Holdings Ltd., on clients slowly moving money to Singapore, the U.K. and other locations

People want an insurance policy on Hong Kong.

Phillip Hynes, head of political risk and analysis, ISS Risk

People were horrified by the violence of last week. But the protests couldn’t survive without sustainable support from the working class, and there’s a surprising amount of support from the middle class.

I’d caution against businesses establishing in Hong Kong now. My assessment of the protest movement is that it will continue for a long time; Hong Kong will never return to the Hong Kong it was before, it’s changed already. We’ve yet to see the impact of societal divisions created here. District elections may further polarize that.

Hong Kong will be an unwelcoming investment and business environment over the next few years, and very volatile.

Pauline Loong, a veteran China watcher and managing director at Asia-analytica in Hong Kong

Hong Kong will always have an international role regardless of political developments. But without confidence that its systems are not being subsumed into that vast opacity of mainland practices, its role would increasingly be confined to one of providing China-related services.

China is too big a market and Hong Kong too important a conduit for Chinese capital flows for anyone to make a move without a war plan on the scale of the invasion of Normandy, and that takes time.





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Asian shares slide as Sino-U.S. spat on Hong Kong clouds trade deal outlook


TOKYO (Reuters) – Global shares slid on Thursday as a fresh row between Washington and Beijing over U.S. bills on Hong Kong could complicate their trade negotiation and delay a “phase one” deal that investors had initially hoped to be inked by now.

FILE PHOTO: A man (R) cleans electronic boards showing Japan’s Nikkei average, the exchange rate between the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar and stock quotation outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, in this April 6, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.16% while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dropped 0.25%.

U.S. S&P500 futures ESc1 dropped 0.2% in early Asian trade, a day after MSCI’s broadest gauge of world stocks fell 0.4%, the biggest fall since early October.

On Wall Street, all three major indexes fell, with the S&P 500 .SPX losing 0.38%.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two bills intended to support protesters in Hong Kong and send a warning to China about human rights.

The legislation, which has angered Beijing, has been sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign or veto amid delicate trade talks with Beijing.

Trump is expected to sign the legislation, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Even if he vetoes, that would be difficult to sustain given that the measures passed both the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House with almost no objections.

“China will surely take this as an interference into its domestic affairs and is likely to think it will no longer need to make concessions on trade,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

Trade experts and people close to the White House said completion of a “phase one” U.S.-China trade deal could slide into next year, as Beijing presses for more extensive tariff rollbacks, and the Trump administration counters with heightened demands of its own.

Trump said on Oct. 11 that deal could take as long as five weeks, and investors had initially expected a deal by mid-November.

Asked Wednesday about the status of the China deal, Trump told reporters in Texas: “I don’t think they’re stepping up to the level that I want.”

Trade jitters sent the 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield down to 1.747% US10YT=RR, near its lowest levels in three weeks and down more than 20 basis points from a Nov. 7 peak of 1.973%, a three-month high.

Similarly in the currency market the yuan hit a three-week low of 7.05 per dollar in offshore trade on Wednesday and last stood at 7.045 yuan per dollar CNH=, down about 0.09% in early Asian trade.

The dollar slipped against the yen to 108.46 JPY=, compared to this week’s high of 109.07 touched on Monday, while safe-haven gold edged up 0.18% to $1,473.6 per ounce XAU=.

The euro was little changed at $1.1075 EUR=.

The minutes from the Federal Reserve’s previous policy meeting offered little guidance on what would cause policymakers to change their minds on the outlook after an increasingly divided Fed decided to hit pause in its easing cycle.

Oil prices held firm having surged more than 2% on Wednesday after a better-than-expected U.S. crude inventories report and as Russia said it would continue its cooperation with OPEC to keep the market balanced.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were down 0.18% at $56.91 per barrel in early Thursday trade.

Editing by Stephen Coates



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U.S. Dollar Flat as Tensions With China Rise Over Hong Kong By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com – The U.S. dollar was flat on Wednesday ahead of the expected release of the Federal Reserve meeting minutes and as tensions between Washington and Beijing rose.

China took offense to the U.S. Senate passing legislation that backed Hong Kong protesters and would ban the export of items like tear gas and rubber bullets to the city’s police force, as conflict between the two sides escalated this week.

The news added to jitters after U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated that he would raise tariffs if phase one of a trade deal with China is not signed. Traders had hoped the deal would have been signed at a summit in Chile scheduled for mid-November, but the deadline was left in limbo after the conference was canceled.

The , which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was steady at 97.760 as of 9:56 AM ET (14:56 GMT) after rising to 97.920 earlier in the session.

Meanwhile, the Fed is expected to release the minutes from its October meeting, where it cut rates by 25 basis points for the third time this year.

The safe-haven Japanese yen was slightly lower with up 0.1% to 108.61.

Elsewhere, sterling was steady, with at 1.2918 while at 1.1075. The trade-sensitive Australian dollar was lower, with falling 0.1% to 0.6818.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Dollar rises as U.S.-China relations worsen over Hong Kong and tariffs By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Euro, Hong Kong dollar, U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, pound and Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in this picture illustration

By Elizabeth Howcroft

(Reuters) – The dollar rose on Wednesday and trade-exposed currencies fell after the U.S. president threatened a trade war escalation and China condemned a U.S. senate measure backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

China’s yuan slipped to a new two-week low in overnight trading after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to raise new tariffs on Chinese imports if ongoing trade negotiations fail.

China condemned the U.S. legislation aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong, saying that the U.S. should stop interfering.

After four days of falling, the dollar was up 0.1% against both the euro () and a basket of currencies. ()

“Today the main focus is the trade talks between China and the U.S. and we are seeing risk aversion,” said Piotr Matys, currency strategist at Rabobank.

Matys said that the U.S. senate’s bill in support of Hong Kong could complicate progress towards a preliminary trade deal.

Markets had hoped that a partial trade deal to end the 16-month U.S.-China trade war could be signed at a summit in Chile, which was scheduled for mid-November. The summit was cancelled, leaving the outlook for a deal unclear.

Adam Cole, chief currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets said that a preliminary “phase one” trade deal could be reached by the end of the year.

“The prospect of a broader more all-encompassing deal will drag on well into next year,” he added.

“The market is worrying (about) this sort of exogenous shock to the process by the build-up of tension in Hong Kong – I ultimately doubt that either side will allow that to delay the process,” Cole said.

The Canadian dollar fell against the U.S. dollar to its lowest since Oct. 11 after a speech by the Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor boosted the perceived likelihood of a rate cut.

Trade-exposed currencies took a hit from the worsening U.S.-China relations. The Australian and New Zealand dollars were both down 0.4% versus the U.S. dollar , .

The Norwegian crown was down 0.9% versus the dollar and 0.7% versus the euro ().

The Swedish crown tracked these losses, but to a lesser extent, down 0.4% versus the dollar and 0.7% versus the euro ().

Demand for safe-have currencies was relatively unchanged, with the Japanese yen up around 0.1% against the dollar and the Swiss franc flat around 0.9905 .

Minutes from the U.S. federal reserve’s FOMC meeting in October are due at 19.00 GMT. Analysts expect little impact.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Hong Kong confirms economy fell into recession amid protests, trade war By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman crosses a street in the Central business district in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong sank into recession for the first time in a decade in the third quarter, government data confirmed on Friday, weighed down by increasingly violent anti-government protests and the escalating U.S.-China trade war.

The economy shrank by 3.2% in July-September from the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, revised government data showed, in line with a preliminary reading.

Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted for the second consecutive quarter, meeting the technical definition of a recession.

With no end to the protests in sight, analysts warn the financial and trading center potentially faces a longer and deeper slump than during the global financial crisis in 2008/2009 and the SARS epidemic in 2003.

From a year earlier, the economy contracted 2.9%, also in line with the preliminary reading. The readings were the weakest since the global crisis.

“Domestic demand worsened significantly in the third quarter, as the local social incidents took a heavy toll on consumption-related activities and subdued economic prospects weighed on consumption and investment sentiment,” the government said in a statement.

It revised down its forecast for full-year growth to a contraction of 1.3% versus an earlier estimate of 0-1% growth. That would mark the first annual decline since 2009.

“Ending violence and restoring calm are pivotal to the recovery of the economy. The government will continue to closely monitor the situation and introduce measures as necessary to support enterprises and safeguard,” the government said.

More than five months of political protests have plunged the city into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

Tourists are cancelling bookings, retailers are reeling from a sharp drop in sales and the stock market is faltering, adding to pressure the city is feeling from China’s economic slowdown and the prolonged Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

August retail sales were the worst on record – down 23% from a year earlier – while September’s plunged 18.3%.

Parts of the city were paralyzed for a fifth day on Friday. Transportation disruptions have become common and some shopping malls and other businesses are shuttering early as the unrest escalates.

BUSINESS GATEWAY TO CHINA

Hong Kong is one of the world’s most important financial hubs with total banking, fund and wealth management assets worth more than $6 trillion.

Many businesses with ambitions to expand in China still consider it as a gateway into the mainland, while Chinese firms use it to access international capital, as well as a testing ground and springboard for their global ambitions.

Business activity in the private sector fell to its weakest in 21 years in October, according to IHS Markit, while demand from mainland China declined at the sharpest pace in the survey’s history – which started in July 1998.

The government has rolled out stimulus measures since August, but since it is forced to keep a high level of reserves to back the Hong Kong dollar peg to the U.S. dollar, the packages have been relatively small.

Analysts also doubt the effectiveness of handouts, since the uncertainty prevents businesses and consumers from spending and investing, and store closures will lead to job losses.



European shares fall on Hong Kong unrest, Trump’s disappointing trade comments By Reuters



(Reuters) – European shares retreated from four-year highs on Wednesday, as a highly anticipated speech by U.S. President Donald Trump gave no new clues on the progress of a trade deal with China, and as anti-government protests in Hong Kong raged on, denting sentiment.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index () fell 0.2% after positive German investor sentiment data and a slew of upbeat earnings had helped it scale highs not seen since 2015 on Tuesday.

Banks () as well as trade sensitive auto () and mining sectors () were among the biggest decliners, along with media-related stocks ().

Satellite company SES (PA:) slumped after a JP Morgan downgrade to neutral, while German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 (DE:) slid 2.5% after Italy’s Mediaset (MI:) said it could increase its stake in the German peer, but ruled out a full takeover.

Spanish stocks () led losses among regional peers as investors were doubtful of a new coalition between Socialists and far-left Unidas Podemos formed on Tuesday. The unexpectedly fast preliminary agreement was formed between two parties that recently refused to work together.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



U.S. Dollar Falls Amid Trade Uncertainty, Hong Kong Unrest By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com – The U.S. dollar was lower on Monday as investors remained cautious after U.S. President Donald Trump denied he would roll back tariffs on Chinese goods.

Hope of a trade deal diminished after Trump said on Friday that he had not agreed to end tariffs on Chinese goods as part of a trade deal, as was claimed by the Chinese Commerce Ministry earlier last week.

Talks were moving slower than he would like, and he would only make a deal if it was best for America, Trump added on Saturday.

The greenback was also held back by a surge of unrest in Hong Kong, as police used live ammunition on protesters who had tried to block roads and delay trains during the morning commute. Elsewhere, protesters set a man arguing with them on fire.

The , which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, slipped 0.2% to 98.058 as of 10:45 AM ET (14:45 GMT).

The safe haven Japanese yen was higher with down 0.2% to 109.08.

Elsewhere, sterling surged after Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said his party . His comments increase the chances of the Tories winning a majority during the U.K. general election on Dec. 12. That would secures the EU withdrawal agreement made last month by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. jumped 0.8% to 1.2868, not far from an earlier high of 1.2883. The euro was higher against the dollar, with rising 0.2% to 1.1033.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Hong Kong Retail Sales Continue Decline in September Amid Unrest By Bloomberg


© Reuters. Hong Kong Retail Sales Continue Decline in September Amid Unrest

(Bloomberg) — The record weakness facing Hong Kong’s hard-hit retailers continued, albeit at a slower pace, in September as violent protests helped push the city into a recession, data released Friday showed.

Retail sales by value fell 18.3% in the month, compared with a decline of a revised 22.9% in August. Retail sales by volume declined 20.4%.

Hong Kong’s economy contracted sharply in the third quarter, amid months of violent protests in the streets and ongoing trade headwinds from the U.S.-China trade war. Tourism has plummeted across the board, especially arrivals from mainland China, which accounts for almost 80% of all visitors to the city. Financial Secretary Paul Chan has repeatedly called on property owners to cut their retail tenants a break as the slump continues.

Police scuffled with protesters and Halloween party-goers in the busy entertainment and shopping area of Lan Kwai Fong Thursday. Riot police closed the holiday hotspot at around 8:30 p.m., leading to tense confrontations with costumed party-goers who were shut out.

As an example of the retail impact of the anti-China and anti-government demonstrations, operating profits among prominent local jewelers including Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. and Luk Fook Holdings International Ltd. may have plunged as much as 45% for the fiscal first half ended September from a year ago, said Catherine Lim, a senior analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, in an Oct. 16 report. The jewelry chains are set to report earnings at the end of November.

“Gains from mainland Chinese tourism, which drove operating profit at these jewelers’ Hong Kong outlets more than 40% higher in the fiscal year ended March, could diminish into 2020 as a result,” Lim said.

Third-quarter gross domestic product retreated 3.2% from the previous three months, after a 0.4% contraction in the second quarter. That’s the worst slump since 2009, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The government said the economy is very likely to contract in 2019 from the previous year.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Hong Kong unrest, stronger dollar weigh on Estee Lauder’s FY forecast By Reuters



By Soundarya J and Praveen Paramasivam

(Reuters) – Estee Lauder Cos Inc (N:) cut its full-year profit forecast on Thursday as it expects to take a hit from the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong and a stronger dollar, taking the sheen off its better-than-expected results and sending its shares down 5%.

Luxury goods companies and retailers have felt the pinch from months of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong that have forced some shops to close temporarily, and kept tourists away from one of the world’s most vibrant shopping destinations.

The cosmetics maker said net sales from Hong Kong, which makes up just under 4% of its global business, had fallen 20% in the first quarter.

“Hong Kong has been difficult,” said Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Freda on an earnings call with analysts, adding that there was no sign of improvement in the business there to date.

Estee Lauder also said it was mindful of, among other risks, moderating growth in China from recent levels, where its sales have been growing in double digits on booming demand for high-end luxury products from affluent Chinese consumers.

“Given the fact that there are global macro slowdowns, even though we haven’t, in fact, seen it in China and haven’t seen it affect our Asia business in general … it certainly could happen,” Chief Financial Officer Tracey Travis said.

The company said it expects 2020 adjusted profit between $5.85 and $5.93 per share, down from a prior range of $5.90 to $5.98.

Estee Lauder, which generates 68% of revenue from Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa market, said the strong dollar would hit its earnings by 5 cents per share.

Another sore spot for the M.A.C brand owner was its Americas business, which is being pressured by weaker customer traffic at brick-and-mortar stores as customers shift to online shopping and buying at specialty beauty shops.

“U.S. performance will remain a concern and focus for investors as market has decelerated after Estee Lauder had talked of sequential improvement in Q4,” Atlantic Equities analyst Edward Lewis said.

Sales in the U.S. market fell 6%, while operating income dropped 25%. In contrast, Asia Pacific region that accounts for a quarter of total sales rose 24% in the quarter.

Overall, net sales climbed 11% to $3.90 billion on the strength of its skin care brands like La Mer.

Excluding items, Estee Lauder earned $1.68 per share.

Analysts on average had expected revenue of $3.85 billion and adjusted profit of $1.60 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Hong Kong enters recession as media decry treatment of journalists By Reuters


© Reuters. Anti-government demonstrators protest in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong has fallen into recession, hit by more than five months of anti-government protests that show no signs of relenting, and is unlikely to achieve any growth this year, the city’s Financial Secretary said.

Black-clad and masked demonstrators set fire to shops and hurled petrol bombs at police in the Chinese-ruled city on Sunday. Police responded with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.

“The blow to our economy is comprehensive,” Paul Chan said in a blog post, adding that a preliminary estimate for third-quarter GDP on Thursday would show two successive quarters of contraction – the technical definition of a recession.

He also said it would be “extremely difficult” to achieve the government’s pre-protest forecast of 0-1 % annual economic growth.

The rallying cry of Sunday’s protests was to fight perceived police brutality and defend Muslims and journalists. Police last weekend fired water cannon at a group of people standing outside a mosque and journalists have been wounded in the clashes.

The programming staff union of public broadcaster RTHK said on Monday it had called on police to identify officers who “attacked and ripped the face mask” off one of its journalists on Sunday. It said she was wearing a reflective vest clearly identifying herself as a journalist.

It was not immediately clear if she was wearing a gas mask to protect against tear gas and pepper spray. Ordinary face masks were banned this month under a resurrected colonial-era emergency law.

Hong Kong Free Press, an online news service, called for the release of a freelance photographer arrested on Sunday.

The city’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club condemned the arrest in a statement on Monday calling for an independent investigation into “police violence against journalists and interference with the media’s right to cover the protests under Hong Kong law”.

The police, who deny using excessive force in life-threatening situations, were due to hold a news conference later on Monday.

Protesters have routinely torched store fronts and businesses including banks, particularly those owned by mainland Chinese companies and vandalised the city’s MTR Corp metro which has shut down services to stop protesters gathering.

The MTR has closed early for the past few weeks and said it will again shit down two hours early on Monday to repair damage.

Protesters are angry about what they view as increasing interference by Beijing in Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula intended to guarantee freedoms not seen on the mainland.

China denies meddling. It has accused foreign governments, including the United States and Britain, of stirring up trouble.

Tourists numbers have plummeted, with visitor numbers down nearly 50 percent in October, a decline Chan called an “emergency”.

Retail operators, from prime shopping malls to family-run businesses, have been forced to close for multiple days over the past few months.

While authorities have announced measures to support local small and medium seized enterprises, Chan said the measures could only “slightly reduce the pressure”.

“Let citizens return to normal life, let industry and commerce operate normally, and create more space for rational dialogue,” he wrote.